Colin Hay doesn’t have what you’d call a household name, he doesn’t look or act like a rock star, and his solo shows don’t sell out big stadiums, but you probably recognize his slightly raspy voice.
The Scottish-born Hay was the singer and songwriter of Australia’s Men at Work, whose Business as Usual album was a huge hit in 1982. The goofy videos for “Down Under” and “Who Can It Be Now?” were staples of MTV in its early days, and you can still hear those songs anywhere that ’80s music is played today. And where is ’80s music not played today?
After the hits dried up, Hay went on to a solo career that has led him to some unexpected places. He has toured with Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band and released a single with Paul McCartney’s ex, Heather Mills. He started his own record company and appeared in films and TV shows, most notably several appearances on Scrubs. Hay’s song “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” appeared on the popular soundtrack to Garden State, the 2004 movie with Scrubs star Zach Braff. For many, that soundtrack represented the past decade’s face of indie rock — a young, bearded, sensitive male face — but Hay’s song fit right in alongside the Shins and Iron & Wine.
That said, Hay’s 21st-century songs don’t really sound all that different from his ’80s work. He still shows the same flair for melody, and he still packs it into songs that are full of good-natured humor. “I said let’s go to Bali,” he sings in one song, “Like a punch from Muhammad Ali/ She said I’d rather go to Rome.”
- Thursday, October 7, 2010, 8 p.m.
Belly Up Tavern,
143 S. Cedros Avenue,
$20 - $22